Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches
The Collector's Series

@edthezilla and his F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain calibre 1403

| By Frank Geelen | 8 min read |

Instagram is a source of inspiration and it proves to be a superb platform to meet like-minded people. For me, this means an Instagram feed of watches, watches, watches, and… watches. It is also the perfect platform to decide who sees your posts and with whom you want to be in touch, it offers a lot of privacy if you want that too. And getting in touch is easy, peer to peer, and only if both parties are interested in getting in touch. One of the persons I’m in touch with goes by the Instagram name Edthezilla. Now I’m typing his IG name, I realize that I never asked why on Earth he calls himself Edthezilla. Anyways, we discuss watches, both his and mine. He owns quite a collection, comprising some of the most desirable modern Rolex and Patek sports watches, some very nice vintage Speedmasters and F.P. Journe. Quite a few Journe’s actually and when I asked him to participate in our Collector’s Series he immediately told me that he wanted to talk about the F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain Calibre 1403. 

One of the funny, or at least interesting, things is that @edthezilla shows some similarities with @Watch_Time_It_Is who talked about his McGonigle Tuscar Bánú and the various iterations in his watch collecting life. Now without further ado, let’s get to the questions and answers of @edthezilla and do make sure to follow him on Instagram!

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Frank Geelen, MONOCHROME Watches – How did you come to buy a watch from F.P. Journe?

@edthezilla – To answer this question, we need to go back to late 2014. At the time, I was as a collector that was hit by a deep  “depression”. By depression, I mean that no watch was tempting enough to buy. I had simply become both bored and disinterested to collect any watches. I had “completed” the Rolex catalogue, and I also got bored with Omega; the brand that actually kick-started my interest in horology.

I found the other established brands unattractive and conservative, so this was a real “depression” by all means. I was missing the good times when I got goosebumps from having a new Rolex on my wrist. Or the feeling of getting aroused when I saw and touched an Aquanaut, or even better a Nautilus!

I do remember the first time I tried on a Richard Mille on my wrist at Marcus Watches, and also when I tried an A. Lange & Söhne at Harrods. That feeling was great! So, I thought that there must be something that can give me the appetite for horology again. Richard Mille and A. Lange & Söhne are both great brands, so I do respect them, but unfortunately, both are not my cup of tea. Due to this, the journey and the hunt had to go on.

After some reflection and deep research of my feelings, I suddenly found what I was looking for and what I needed, from an independent watchmaker. I found the one who does not compromise with himself, and furthermore, he really put his soul into his work. Back in 2013, I came across F.P. Journe completely randomly through a friend of mine. I started to do some more research about the brand and the story behind François-Paul Journe. I was reading countless reviews about F.P. Journe watches, and the one that I did fall in love with was the soon to become the grail, Tourbillon Souverain calibre 1403. Finally, the good feelings were coming back, and I started to get a great appetite for a new watch.

I did also learn that the interest of horology is not about trading or what is called “flipping”. But it is to appreciate the workmanship and the art of watchmaking. This is something you can’t find in new mass-produced watches, like one of the not-mentioned super brands. Many of my previous impulse purchases have been about something completely else.

So, yes, I did see the light, and Mr François-Paul Journe was my saviour! The watch that matched my budget was the Chronomètre Bleu, so I felt like being in heaven. But in order to get an F.P. Journe, I reached out to Osama Sendi aka The Journe Guy. Osama is the one who probably knows the brand best of all the people I know. And if someone can get you a Chronomètre Bleu, this is the guy. We are now in early 2015, the Chronomètre Bleu had just started to get a big interested from collectors. Osama connected me with Shaun Metha of Watch4moi/Ginotti. After some emailing back and forth, he managed to get a Chronomètre Bleu.

This was my first taste of the brand, and the journey into the independent watchmaking of Haute Horology had finally started.

But actually you desperately wanted another F.P. Journe….

To get the watch that I really wanted, I had to save up and do lots of research for four years. The watch in question is the F.P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain calibre 1403 in platinum. The search is at least half of the fun of buying a new watch.

The watch I decided to buy was from May 2007, and it had all its paperwork and everything. It even had a service enclosed from some years ago. So, this was just a perfect match for me. I received the watch in May last year. And since then, it has been the watch I have worn most. I wear it during my bike rides around my hometown, or when I am off to London or Geneva. To describe the watch, the case is slim, and it works well dressed up, or casual with shirt and jeans. And with combination with some bespoke leather straps from Jean Rousseau, it’s suitable for all occasions. And why did I buy the tourbillon? That’s because this is the watch that got it all started!

I did see the light and Mr François-Paul Journe was my saviour!

What is it that you admire so much in Journe’s watches?

First of all, it is the man behind the watches. Invenit et Fecit (Latin “[He] invented it and made it”) What more can you say? He’s a genius, a master watchmaker, an artist, a true gentleman with a great taste for life and red wine. The watchmaker’s response to Tony Stark.

journe collection

I do love the design of his movements; the dials are nothing like I have ever seen before. His watches tick all the boxes on my list.

Any more watches on the horizon for you? Or what’s next on your wish list? 

The next watch that I would like to talk about is really something special and most personal. Something that has been like a new journey. This is almost like the journey with F.P. Journe, but in a different way if I may say so.

It all started at SalonQP 2017. A young man with a small table had a special watch that caught my eye. The case shape and design of the movement and dial was nothing like I had seen before. Nothing even slightly like this. It looked industrial but in a very beautiful way. It was The AkriviA AK-06.

AkriviA AK-06

This was the prototype N00. The watchmaker behind this company is Rexhep Rexhepi. A young gentleman, only 27 years old. But he had a passion and a spirit like I have never seen before. The AkriviA design is something that you need to process to understand and is not for everyone to love. For me, it was not love at first sight, but I did understand the design and I also fond some relations to 1920s and 1930s architecture. At first, I thought of the movie Metropolis from 1927. I will say that this watch is influenced by the finest art deco architecture.

Next time I saw Rexhep Rexhepi and AkriviA was at SalonQP 2018. This time there was a new watch that enchanted me. This was the prototype for the Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain. This is a new line for AkriviA. The AkriviA is the main collection of the atelier. Rexhepi Rexhepi line is the second and more limited collection. For me, the Chronomètre Contemporain was love at first sight. So classy, elegant with a neo-classical design that I really love and adore.

The same year AkriviA won the Men’s Watch Award at the GPHG 2018 with the Rexhep Rexhepi Chronomètre Contemporain. This may be the catalyst for what we see today, as the great success and demand of AkriviA and Rexhep Rexhepi watches. To me, it is the connection and spirit I feel for the brand and the people behind it. What I find the most appealing with the brand, is the craftsmanship, devotion, passion and strong connection to the brand. For each day and month that is going by, my feelings and connections to AkriviA are growing stronger and stronger. I do hope that this is a relationship that will last a lifetime.

I added a picture from my last visit to Genève. Here is master watchmaker Rexhep Rexhepi with my FP Journe.

You can follow @edthezilla on Instagram

If you want to be featured and talk about a very special watch that you own, then send an email to [email protected]

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